Leicester City’s star goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel joined sports projects from across Leicestershire to celebrate a shared windfall of almost £70,000 as part of a drive to empower young people to turn their backs on crime.
Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach has announced grants for seven sports and activity-based schemes which encourage young people to exploit their talents and nurture a positive attitude as part of his long-term crime prevention strategy.
The organisations successfully bid for grants in the latest round of his Prevention Fund and will play an instrumental role in the PCC’s plans to reduce antisocial behaviour and crime and keep young people at risk of crime on the right path.
The one-off sports-based funding was launched in October 2017 and came after the Commissioner received numerous applications from sports clubs during his preliminary funding rounds.
Each project has received up to £10,000 towards their diversionary work which will equip youngsters with the confidence and self-esteem to make healthy and law-abiding life choices.
Successful applicants were invited to a celebration hosted by the PCC and attended by the Danish and Foxes star Kasper Schmeichel at Leicestershire Police HQ in Enderby this week.
Willy Bach said: “Sport really can make a difference to a young person’s prospects and gives them an active role to play in their future. Through the excitement and popularity of sport we can engage with hard-to-reach youngsters and empower them to aim higher.
“Experience has shown us that positive self-image and self-confidence are the driving forces behind ambition. Every youngster needs to realise their own strength and capabilities and sport is a fantastic way of doing this.
“I’m really proud to be in a position to expand the sporting opportunities available in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and provide a platform for young people to improve themselves mentally, emotionally and physically. I’ve no doubt these projects will transform lives and prevent young people from embarking on the slippery slope to crime.”
Kasper Schmeichel added: “Sport reaches all age groups and appeals to everyone, especially young people. It’s important for youngsters to have somewhere to go and something to do. It gives young people direction and teaches discipline, especially in the martial arts area, and I know from my own experience that there are great benefits in following a passion like sport.”
Among the grant recipients is Fusion Lifestyle which has received £9,955 towards its partnership work with Go-Getta delivering sports sessions in Mountsorrel and Anstey.
The project arose out of complaints about antisocial behaviour and criminal damage in the Mount Sorrel and Anstey areas and corresponding increases in crime. It will engage with 50 young people over a 12-month period, offering weekly 1.5 hour sessions in each location in a range of sports including street hockey, football, basketball, tennis and street dance.
Nick Evatt, divisional sports and community development manager, said: “This funding has created a fantastic opportunity for Fusion, the Charnwood leisure provider, to work with new and existing partners to create a fantastic, sustainable opportunity for young people to get involved in physical exercise.”
The Waterfront Sports and Education Academy in Leicester received £9,812 towards its Box-Smart scheme which provides boxing and music workshops to young people at risk of crime and antisocial behaviour. Each workshop will engage with 30 plus young people aged seven to 19 from the Belgrave, St Marks, St Matthews Abbey and Latimer areas and will also take direct referrals from the Safer Neighbourhood Team to ensure its work targets those most in need of intervention.
The sessions are being run on Monday and Thursday evenings from 6pm to 8pm when statistical evidence shows reports to police about antisocial behaviour spike.
Michael Burgess, chief executive and trustee of Waterfront Sports and Education Academy, said: “We have been unable to facilitate youth work sessions in this area in the past due to financial reasons with a lack of funds.
“Thanks to this grant, we are now able to deliver an exciting new project that will make a positive impact on the local young people.
“We will be providing boxing sessions as well as informal learning based around local issues such as knife crime and anti-social behaviour in a very relaxed environment using arts and crafts, lyric writing workshops and youth work models.”
Other organisations to receive funding including ‘KB In the Community’ which has been allocated £9,320 for Leicester Sporting Futures to educate young people on issues such as hate crime, street crime, guns and knives and alcohol and drugs through sport and Goldhill Play Association which received £9,999 towards its sports-related outreach work with hard-to-reach young people on the estate.
The Friends Hub received £9,950 for its Drug Free Highlands project which provides boxing and table tennis activity sessions to tackle antisocial behaviour while Leicester Combat Academy (LCA) successfully applied for £9,000 to purchase wrestling mats, a boxing ring and rubber safety mats to improve its facilities for young people.
Also successful is Streetvibe which secured £9,500 towards its activities-based work with young people aged 13 to 25 in communities across Leicestershire where relationships with young people have broken down.
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Thursday 8th March 2018